Vegan diets are often unfairly criticized as unhealthy. As with any diet, there are healthy ways and unhealthy ways to eat. For example, potato chips fried in canola oil are technically vegan, but wouldn’t be a healthy addition to any diet. In fact, a properly balanced vegan diet is very healthy.
Before we get into why a vegan diet is healthy, we first need to understand what it means to eat vegan. A vegan diet contains no animal products. This means vegans must get their nutrients from vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits, and other plant products.
By cutting out animal products, vegans remove many sources of saturated fats from their diets. This reduces their risk for many diseases. Some of these diseases are heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
Research also suggests that macular degeneration and cataracts may be prevented by consuming a vegan diet. This is because vegans eat more leafy green vegetables and orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Both categories of vegetables are high in vitamin A and beta carotene, which promote eye health and may ward off age-related eye degeneration.
Reducing your risk for certain diseases isn’t the only reason to try a vegan diet. On average vegans, live an average of 3 to 6 years longer than those not on a vegan diet. Evidence shows that diets without meat can lead to lower BMIs, weight loss, and an increase in energy. Vegans also notice that their skin, hair, and nails are healthier than their meat-eating counterparts. Many women also report that their PMS symptoms lessen once they eliminate dairy.
If you’re going vegan, make sure you are still getting plenty of protein, magnesium, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These nutrients are easily found in those vegetables, grains, nuts, and the other fundamentals that make up a vegan diet.